Who We Are
Late One Night, Jake Luhrs Sat Outside The Chicago House of Blues
Stories of addiction, depression, self-harm, heartache, war, fear, and hopelessness echoed in his mind. Every night, a fan would share a different story.
Although Jake was the well-recognized frontman of August Burns Red, he was at a loss for how to help. He wasn’t a mental health specialist and he screamed into a mic for a living. Not exactly the picture of expertise his fans needed.
Deep in thought and prayer, all Jake knew was that something had to change.
Divine Inspiration struck
And That’s When He Got His Answer
- Build a place where people can come exactly as they are and explore healing
- Provide relevant resources to an increasingly digital generation
- Teach them to give back and help others grow stronger together
HeartSupport Was Born
Every year we help men and women brave their wounds, find purpose, and discover healing. Our goal is to create a legacy of life-transformation, freeing them from suicide, addiction, abuse, and mental health issues while empowering them with the realization they are loved unconditionally and supported by a community that believes in them.
Meet The Team That Helps Carry The Vision
Our Board of Directors
Jake Luhrs is the lead singer of Grammy-nominated metal band, August Burns Red and founder of HeartSupport. To date, he has toured hundreds of countries internationally and reached the Top 10 BillBoard charts multiple times. After seeing his fans struggling through addiction, depression, and suicide ideation, he prayed one evening for a way to help his fans and people around the world find hope and faith. The answer to that prayer was HeartSupport. In the short years Jake has been running HeartSupport, he has united bands and fans alike to carry a message of hope, healing, and restoration to a scene that is typically viewed as “dark” and “without hope.” His efforts thus far have led the organization to be nominated twice for philanthropic awards up against the likes of Doctors Without Borders and the American Cancer Society. In 2016 he won the Artist Philanthropic Award at the Alternative Press Music Awards in recognition for his work at HeartSupport. In addition to HeartSupport and his band, he also runs a clothing line company called “More Weight” that inspires others to reach and achieve their health goals through community support.
Marlis Oliver is the Executive Director of K&N Management, a company that oversees Rudy’s BBQ and Mighty Fine Burgers in Austin, TX and is the recipient of the prestigious Malcolm Baldridge National Quality Award. Awarded in 2010, K&N Management is just the second restaurant group to be recognized with the national honor. The award is a tremendous validation of how K&N Management compares to other companies across the country and establishes it as a role model business under the leadership of Marlis. The award is given to role model organizations that demonstrate exceptional performance in areas of management including leadership, strategic planning, customer service, workforce focus, process management, data analysis knowledge management, and results. To date, Marlis has worked 17 years for the company and guides HeartSupport through its annual strategic plan to reach its goals of becoming a world class non-profit.
Dr. Michelle Saari
Michelle Saari has been an advocate and mental health professional for the past 14 years. She holds both a Ph.D. and Masters degree in psychology and is a licensed mental health provider, and Board certified clinical supervisor in the state of Minnesota. She is also a Nationally Certified Counselor through the NBCC (National Board for Certified Counselors). As a long time fan of the heavy metal music industry, she was aware of the negativity and darkness that many in the scene face. Seeing Heartsupport as a unique blend of the music community, relationship building and hope for those struggling, she began volunteering on the ground at Vans Warped Tour. Michelle has helped the organization grow to reach even more people while encouraging others to live the healthiest lives they can and discover their best self. Outside of her professional service, she can be found exploring the outdoors, spending time exercising, and attending as many concerts and music festivals as her schedule allows.
Dave is the Senior Associate Leader at the Journey Center in Horseheads, New York and the Executive Director of the iMatter Foundation; an educational based not-for-profit that reaches tens of thousands of kids annually with a message of hope and individual value. Dave helped assemble and construct the iMatter board and staff structure. He has a burning heart to reach the “fringe kids”, many of whom have never felt a fathers love. Dave is a devoted husband to Robin (33 years) and father of 2 daughters, Cassia and Hannah.
Recently retired, Dave is also the founder and owner of King Timberlands Consulting Group; a national company that represents timberland assets to institutional investors. Since 2013, year KTCG has brokers over $100 Million in transactions to add to the career total of over $400 Million. Dave also managed a 27-year college and high school basketball and football coaching career.
Dave’s a seasoned speaker who uses energy and humor to deliver advanced leadership concepts to the venues he engages. Among his passions is helping businesses and not for profit organizations build effective leadership teams.
dr. Justin Holcomb
Justin Holcomb is an Episcopal priest and teaches theology at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and Reformed Theological Seminary. He previously taught at the University of Virginia and Emory University.
Justin holds two masters degrees from Reformed Theological Seminary and a Ph.D. from Emory University.
A prominent advocate against sexual abuse, Justin’s book Rid of My Disgrace: Hope and Healing for Victims of Sexual Assault has been a resource for many inside the community at HeartSupport. In addition to HeartSupport, Justin serves on the boards of REST (Real Escape from the Sex Trade) and GRACE (Godly Response to Abuse in Christian Environments).